The Full Hunt Emails

Exhibit KRM 18 is out.

Happy Hunting…

UPDATE:

Does this sound like a “completely transparent, impartial and fair” process?

UPDATE II: Harman calls for Hunt’s head. Probably buying him some time…

UPDATE III: Hunt’s people kicking back hard. Saying he will defend himself rigorously on his own outing on the stand and has no intention of resigning.

Hunt the Emails

Jeremy Hunt told Parliament in March this year: “at every stage of this process we have sought to be completely transparent, impartial and fair.” Apart from that bit where Cable “declared war”.

At the Lobby briefing this morning Christopher Hope of the Telegraph asked No. 10 whether there had been any inappropriate communication between the Murdochs and Hunt. The reply was “no”. 

This afternoon from we learn that Hunt’s people were sending briefings, updates and supportive words about the bid to Murdoch’s men. The cache of emails will be released at 4pm – there could well be a killer line. Someone who has seen files declares that they are “devastating”. The hunt is on…

UPDATE: Spokesman for PM says he has full confidence in Jeremy Hunt. The hare is running.

Labour Star Lord Winston Slams Party For Choosing Ken

Labour’s second most famous backer Lord Winston has followed the lead of Alan Sugar and slammed Ken. Talking on the Daily Politics he questioned how the party had managed to select Livingstone. Just a week ago Lord Winston was the face of the Labour Party’s Election Broadcast. If he isn’t backing Ken, then why should any Labour supporter?

Meanwhile Ken has today promised to release all of his earnings, and those of Silveta, and the tax he has paid, signed off by an accountant. There are rumours of avian swine sightings too. At least he admits that his last figures were a load of…

Video via Liar Politicians

James Murdoch Skewers Hunt

James Murdoch has given the British establishment another lesson in mid-Atlantic business speak this morning. The long drawn out discussion has thrown up some interesting snippets so far. Not least was the discussion around a Christmas dinner foolishly attended by the Prime Minister at Rebekah Brooks’ house, which Guido broke a day before the Guardian claimed the scoop. You read it right here first…

Murdoch Jr. confessed that the BSkyB bid had come up at said dinner: “It was a tiny side conversation, it was not a discussion.” Which is somewhat different to what government spinners have said previously. A nervous No.10 will be thinking it could have been a lot worse, but this is still a potential breach of the Ministerial Code as Labour pointed out at the time.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt was not so lucky though. Murdoch coughed that Hunt was essentially his back-channel point man for the deal after Vince Cable made clear that a meeting was not going to happen. The chief inquisitor Mr Jay called him Hunt a “cheerleader” and his statements made to the Commons on the matter are looking a little shaky this afternoon…

UPDATE: Rumour reaches Guido that correspondence between Hunt, his SpAds and the Murdochs in regard to BSkyB will be published by the inquiry later. It is said to be very bad news for Hunt.

UPDATE II: Hundreds of pages of emails will be released covering conversations with Hunt’s staff and Murdoch staff. At 4pm…

Powell Departs

After Guido suggested here last week that it was rather odd that a member of the Labour Party Executive board and deputy Chief of Staff to the leader had managed to breeze into the candidacy for a nominally safe Labour seat, Lucy Powell has resigned from both her roles. Funny that she didn’t think it was appropriate to do so before her stitched up selection…

Russell Brands May

Russell Brand has been talking drug legalisation at the Home Affairs Select Committee this morning. On the way out he said “Theresa May’s up next, check she knows what day it is…” That sort of public humiliation for a Home Secretary this close to a reshuffle must be doubly uncomfortable… 

Secretary of State Spook Connection

While all eyes are on a different courtroom this morning, the inquest into a the dead spook in a bag has already taken a fiction worthy turn of events. Channel Four reported last night, but have not written up on their website, the evidence submitted to the inquiry by the estate agent who managed the Pimlico pad where Gareth Williams was found dead and locked in a bag, saying it was rented from a company in St Hellier by an unnamed Secretary of State in September 2003. MI6 reports to the Foreign Secretary – if the flat was leased by anyone else then this will look very dodgy…

Jack Straw was Foreign Secretary at the time, and what with being sued for allegedly clearing extraordinary rendition, this is yet another very awkward headache for the elder statesman. It’s not yet come out whether the lease was transferred to subsequent Foreign Secretaries, but tongues are wagging…

Miliband talks up Ken’s chances in Prospect magazine:

“You know, we’ll see.” 

Crony Crow Sues Over “Not Ken Again” Poster

Bob Crow, the RMT union boss hated by London’s commuters, has put the union’s money behind an attempt to stop theNot Ken Again advertising posters attacking Ken’s cronyism. He is wasting the RMT’s money because all the evidence is that he is Ken’s crony.

Team Ken have deliberately tried to keep London hate-figure Crow and his militant transport union out of the picture at all times during the campaign. Above is a mock-up of what would happen on May 4 if Londoners “Got Ken Again”.

The RMT boss is trying to get the crony posters blocked, yet Ken’s candidate for deputy mayor Val Shawcross is a member of the RMT and supports their strikes. During Livingstone’s first term Bob Crow served on the Transport for London board he chaired between 2002 and 2004. The records show ‘the chair welcomed Bob Crow to his first board meeting’. The favour was well received, last year Crow told LBC “I’ve never been apart from Ken. We have differences like I have with my brother and sister but overall, Ken’s a good bloke. Give us a shout Ken when you want some money”. Spoken like a true crony.

UPDATE: With perfect timing the RMT are planning to go on strike this afternoon.

Dorries Should Defect

It does amuse Guido that those so quick to dismiss the views of Nadine Dorries in very personal terms because they disagree with her, have showered her with praise today for going for Cameron’s jugular on today’s Daily Politics. If a sustained bitter campaign of bile was unleashed in a similar way from the right on a female Labour MP, the kickback would be very different. If Nadine really holds her party leadership in such low regard, is it not time for it to send an even clearer messageTwitter would love it…

Beeb’s Biased Brief

“Legal commentator and former government lawyer” Carl Gardner has been rather vocal in recent days about the Abu Qatada case. He’s billed as an impartial commentator on the airwaves. Today in the Guardian he pronounced that “I read both cases as supporting Abu Qatada’s reading, rather than the Home Secretary’s.” Surprisingly his opinions might not be as impartial as he likes to present. Writing with a little less legal flair during the 2010 general election campaign, Gardner said “as a Labour supporter, I’m far from being a natural Conservative, and so perhaps I’m likely to be biased”. Someone better tell the “un-biased” BBC…

Yesterday’s Daily Star Sunday Column Now Online

Osborne, Galloway, Seb Coe and more on that nasty race to become Mayor of Birmingham.

Half a million people read it in print yesterday, and you can now read the blog’s Sunday column online here

Neck and Neck: Boris 51% v Ken 49%

Today’s YouGov/Evening Standard poll has Boris only two points ahead of Ken. Right back to where they were in February.

Two weeks to go…

Left-Wing Hollande Would Trigger €urogeddon

Guido shorted €uros last night as soon as the Kiwis got to their desks and the currency markets opened. French Socialist Francois Hollande looks set to become President of France and the Dutch government has fallen apart. International investors are not going to look at that kindly, Guido also has a sense that the election of a left-wing president in France who actually implements a left-wing agenda would frighten the bond markets. Hollande will probably tack to the centre once in office, he is after all only a politician making election promises. If however he sticks to the left-wing agenda that his rhetoric promises, the big macro-hedge funds will take the view that French bonds can join the PIIGS (Portugese, Irish, Italian and Spanish bonds) on the sell list. In government Hollande has to choose between his rhetoric and the reality of the bond markets.

The ECB has already dangerously leveraged up support for the PIIGs via Long Term Refinancing Operations (LTRO). Leveraging up the ECB’s capital base has allowed it to put nearly €1 trillion of PIIG sovereign debt on its books, at a massive leverage ratio of nearly 40 to 1. If the ECB were a marked-to-market hedge fund instead of a Central Bank we would say it was investing recklessly, a mere 2.5% market move against it would wipe out all of its capital. The market doesn’t move it against it because it massively intervenes to support its own position.

If however the German Bundesbank decides that the ECB can’t go on literally doubling the chips on the table – up 106% since last year – the €uro as is could be too big to save. That is why all Osborne’s Treasury’s protestations about the IMF always getting its money back count for little. The US and China want to see Germany bet everything on the €uro before they join the rescue party. German politicians – including those of the left-of-centre SPD – expect Hollande to govern from the centre whatever he says on the hustings. British left-wingers hoping for a left-wing surge on the continent sparked by Hollande should be careful what they wish for, it would trigger the end of the €uro. If Hollande abandoned Sarkozy’s deficit reduction programme Germany would probably seek alternative arrangements – a hard-€uro Fiscal Union made up of Northern Europeans who run their affairs like the Germans and a looser soft-€uro of Southern Europeans who overspend. The dream of a united continent of Europe with one currency would be over…

The Mail on Sunday asked Eric Joyce: is fighting your main passion?

“No, it’s only a hobby. I’m just better at it than politics”.

Rich & Mark’s Monday Morning View

See more cartoons

Buy the Daily Star Sunday

Not too late to whip down to the newsagents to pick up a copy of the Daily Star Sunday, still only 50p.

Don’t miss it…

24% of Tory Voters Prefer Farage to Cameron Carswell Ahead of Cameron on Preferred Policies

Dave beats Ed 37% to 30% when it comes to the question of which party leader best defends Britain’s interests. No great surprise there.

To those who claim UKIP is not going to cut through what is interesting is that the pollsters Survation found that 24% of those that voted Conservative in 2010 –  almost a quarter – choose UKIP’s Nigel Farage as the party leader that best defends Britain’s interests. The crowding at the centre of politics is opening up space for UKIP on the right…

Tory MP Douglas Carswell might also have the last laugh after being slapped down by Cameron at PMQs for a lack of a sense of humour. The Mail on Sunday found that voters preferred Carswell’s policies over Cameron’s:

To be fair Dave too used to be in favour of an EU referendum, open primaries, MP right to recall laws and the rest. Before he was elected…

Saturday Seven Up

Last week saw 100,187 visitors making 291,943 visits to view 453,319 pages. The top stories in order of popularity were:

You’re either in front of Guido or behind…

Osborne’s “Clear Position” on the IMF

This £10 billion bailout for the IMF brings the total Osborne has pledged to £40 billion, or some £666 for each and every man, woman and child in the Britain. In October last year after British taxpayers sent £9 billion to the IMF – £9 billion that Osborne had to borrow, Osborne told the House of Commons categorically:

“Britain will not be putting money into the bail-out fund either directly or through the IMF….

[…] Read the rest

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Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

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